In November 2013, Germany marked the 75th anniversary of the Pogrom Night of 1938 when the National Socialists had succeeded in “Aryanising” practically all artistic areas in the Third Reich. The Fritz Bauer Institute wanted to use this occasion to present a cross-section of the German-Austrian art sector of that era. In addition to examining the “Great German Art Exhibition” – the annual exhibition of National Socialist art – and the propagandistic exhibition “Degenerate Art”, the project investigated what role certain influential cultural figures played in the art world during the Nazi years. With the inclusion of biographies and works of artists, collectors, gallery owners, art critics and museum staff, the project sought answers to such questions as: Who was allowed to publicly display their works? Who was permitted to collect and sell them? Who were the winners and losers under National Socialism? Furthermore, the exhibition offered an aesthetic and art-historical evaluation of the works with the goal of countering the widespread belief that NS-cultural policy defined itself according to stylistic criteria and was principally opposed to avant-garde art. Based on recent research findings, the exhibition demonstrated that National Socialism lacked a consistent cultural theory and its cultural policy was predominantly rooted in its racist ideology.
Concept: Dr. Julia Voss
Curator: Dr. Eva Atlan
Designer: Tobias Rehberger
Artists: Hannah Ryggen, Werner Peiner, Lotte Laserstein, Heinrich Ehmsen, Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler